Press release from WNC 4 Peace:
WNC 4 Peace, Veterans for Peace Chapter 099 and Elder and Sage Community Gardens, sponsors of the local International Day of Peace, announce that Said Abdallah is 2019’s Peacemaker of the year.
Abdallah, who was born in Palestine and immigrated to the USA in 1974, was nominated by Jewish Voice for Peace – Asheville and American Friends of Combatants for Peace – Asheville. Since moving to Asheville in 2013, Said has been active in numerous efforts to make our community and world a better and more peaceful place. His efforts include:
- Serving on the board of the Lord’s Acre, a farming initiative that helps lessen food insecurity in the Fairview and Asheville communities.
- Volunteering at Kairos West, the community center and “public living room” that offers support, meals and surplus food to people in need. Kairos West is also the home of “Twelve Baskets,” for which Said volunteered his skills as an electrician.
- Attending the mass civil gatherings and numerous workshops at the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference calling for serious attention to this global challenge.
- Standing on the “front lines” in solidarity with the Water Protectors at Standing Rock, bringing 500 pounds of food with him and volunteering in the kitchen and the media room. .
- Traveling to Uruguay in 2017 where he studied renewable energy programs and visited solar and wind farms, to Argentina in 2018 where he visited cooperatively owned businesses and participated in celebration of Che Guevara’s birthday, and to Ecuador in 2019 where he offered his electrician skills to provide electricity for the Mbabura Clinic in Ibarra which makes prosthetic devices.
- Promoting the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Foundation by serving on its Board of Directors and promoting its work at the yearly Mother Earth News Fair.
- Growing food in his personal green house which he gave away to those who needed it.
- Doing pro bono electrical work for folks and farms in need of this service who couldn’t afford to pay.
- Helping to found and lead the Asheville chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, a national organization working to end the occupation of Palestine, advocating for Palestinian rights, and working for a new U.S. foreign policy based on human rights.
- Participating in the first training for American Friends of Combatants for Peace, in preparation to represent AFCFP by sharing his experience as a Palestinian living under Israeli occupation. He is also one of the leaders of the Asheville chapter of AFCFP.
The public is invited to attend the Tenth Annual International Day of Peace festivities on Saturday, September 21, at 11 AM when peace seekers and makers honor Abdallah and the organizations of which he is a part. The event will take place at the Elder and Sage Community Gardens on Page Ave at Battle Square. In addition to honoring the Peacemaker of the Year, sponsors also invite the public to welcome Asheville City Council Member Brian Haynes as he reads the City’s Peace Proclamation that includes thirty local supporting organizations in making efforts for peace in our community and the world.
North Carolina State Representative Susan Fisher will read the Proclamation signed by the local State Delegation at a reception in the Rooftop Room of Battery Park Apartments following the morning program.
Kathy Kelly, founder of Voices for Creative Nonviolence and long-time peace activist, and who will have just returned from Afghanistan, will speak about US – Iran conflict at 1 PM in the Rooftop Room, and will be available for Q&A afterwards.
Another speaker as part of International Day of Peace will include Human Rights Attorney and Activist Daniel Kovalik, who will read from his most recent book, “The Plot to Overthrow Venezuela,” at Malaprop’s Bookstore and Cafe at 6 PM on Thursday, September 19.
International Day of Peace has been celebrated in Western North Carolina for ten straight years, although it was also commemorated for sporadic years before 2010, as well. It chooses to observe this event on September 21 in collaboration with the United Nations and people around the world on this one day of the year when a state of peace is welcomed and hoped to become a reality on the globe.